Now therefore, I pray you, listen you also to the voice of your handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength, when you go on your way.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Samuel 31:8; 2 Samuel 1:10.
and let me set a morsel of bread before thee, and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way; which she might urge, not merely out of respect to the king, but for her own sake, lest should he die in her house, she might be taken up, not only for a witch, but as being accessory to the death of the king; and therefore she moves, that he would take some food for refreshment of nature, that he might be able to depart her house, and go on his way to his army.Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. hearken thou also unto the voice] Obey thou also the voice. The E. V. fails to bring out the exact parallel which the woman draws between her own compliance and the compliance she asks from Saul.Isaiah 14:9), to bring me up?" It follows, no doubt, from this that Samuel had been disturbed from his rest by Saul; but whether this had been effected by the conjuring arts of the witch, or by a miracle of God himself, is left undecided. Saul replied, "I am sore oppressed, for the Philistines fight against me, and God has departed from me, and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams; then I had thee called (on the intensified form ואקראה, vid., Ewald, 228, c.), to make known to me what I am to do." The omission of any reference to the Urim is probably to be interpreted very simply from the brevity of the account, and not from the fact that Saul shrank from speaking about the oracle of the high priest, on account of the massacre of the priests which had taken place by his command. There is a contradiction, however, in Saul's reply: for if God had forsaken him, he could not expect any answer from Him; and if God did not reply to his inquiry through the regularly appointed media of His revelation, how could he hope to obtain any divine revelation through the help of a witch? "When living prophets gave no answer, he thought that a dead one might be called up, as if a dead one were less dependent upon God than the living, or that, even in opposition to the will of God, he might reply through the arts of a conjuring woman. Truly, if he perceived that God was hostile to him, he ought to have been all the more afraid, lest His enmity should be increased by his breach of His laws. But fear and superstition never reason" (Clericus). Samuel points out this contradiction (1 Samuel 28:16): "Why dost thou ask me, since Jehovah hath departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?" The meaning is: How canst thou expect an answer under these circumstances from me, the prophet of Jehovah? ערך, from ער, signifies an enemy here (from עיר, fervour); and this meaning is confirmed by Psalm 139:20 and Daniel 4:16 (Chald.). There is all the less ground for any critical objection to the reading, as the Chaldee and Vulgate give a periphrastic rendering of "enemy," whilst the lxx, Syr., and Arab. have merely paraphrased according to conjectures. Samuel then announced his fate (1 Samuel 28:17-19): "Jehovah hath performed for himself, as He spake by me (לו, for himself, which the lxx and Vulg. have arbitrarily altered into לך, σοί, tibi (to thee), is correctly explained by Seb. Schmidt, 'according to His grace, or to fulfil and prove His truth'); and Jehovah hath rent the kingdom out of thy hand, and given it to thy neighbour David." The perfects express the purpose of God, which had already been formed, and was now about to be fulfilled.
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